Tag Archive | lunch

Baked Mushrooms

I recently discovered baking mushrooms maintains the earthy taste and deep flavours of mushrooms far better than any other cooking method. This dish is simple, quick, versatile and tastes – oh so good.

Brown, Swiss or Portobello Mushrooms have the most flavour
30g butter
fresh herbs

  1. Heat oven to 220 C.
  2. Tear mushrooms and place in 20cm diameter metal baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and fresh herbs of your choice. I like thyme or continental parsley.
  4. Dot with a few little knobs of butter – you need very little.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve as is as an innovative and healthy snack or starter. Alternatively makes a great breakfast or lunch dish if you spread sourdough toast with goats cheese and serve mushrooms on top of the goats cheese with a few extra herbs sprinkled on top.
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Low Calorie/ High GI Carrot and Apple Salad

This salad originated in the High Rustenburg Health Hydro and is packed with low calorie/high GI ingredients. The sweetness of the fruit makes it delicious with any spicy food. It’s also a great addition to take along to a barbecue – no one else will have anything like it, children love it, and it’s delicious with sausages. Of course it’s also ideal for a ladies luncheon along with poached chicken or fish. Enjoy.

Serves 8.

4 carrots
2 bananas
2 apples
4 stalks celery
2 cups thinly shredded iceberg lettuce
1/2 cup yoghurt
1 Tablespoon honey
3 Tablespoons lemon juice

  1. Grate apples, carrots and celery. Using the grate attachment on a food processor makes short work of this.
  2. Place in a large flat salad bowl or platter. Mix in sliced bananas. Toss with lemon juice until mixture is well coated to prevent the apples and bananas going brown. Mix in lettuce.
  3. Add honey to yoghurt. Drizzle over salad to taste. Toss and serve.
  4. This salad does not keep well. Eat immediately.

Lentil, Smoked Salmon and Preserved Lemon Salad

A lovely light lunch for warm spring days, a starter for dinner or even a side salad with chicken or fish. This is easy and quick to throw together so add to your standard repertoire. You may want to take a page out of my daughter, Bianca’s, book and make your own smoked salmon. Here is the link to her blog outlining how to do this.

Serves 2 for lunch or 4 as a side salad.

1 cup green puy lentils, boiled till tender
1/2 preserved lemon, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley
3 Tablespoons finely chopped mint
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 handfuls baby rocket
125g(4oz) smoked salmon, finely sliced
lemon juice & olive oil to dress

  1. Mix drained lentils with salt and pepper and remaining ingredients excluding salmon in a large bowl.
  2. Toss everything together and dress to taste with lemon juice and olive oil.
  3. Serve as a side salad or add finely sliced salmon for a light lunch.

Liz’s Beef and Vegetable Soup for the Last of the Cooler Days

The days are warm already this year with the garden thinking that spring has arrived. However, the nights are still cool – time to enjoy my hearty homemade soup one last time before the warm spring evenings are upon us. This recipe is cobbled together from watching my mother and grandmother making soups with leftovers from the pantry and the fridge. It tastes wholesome with friends and neighbours always asking for some – it’s one of those dishes that never finishes as each day you add a little more water to top up what you ate the previous day !!!

Serves 8.

2 pieces veal osso buco
1 cup dried Italian Soup mix – you want the mixed beans and lentils with no barley
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
3 sticks celery, sliced
3 large carrots, sliced
3 medium desiree or kestrel potatoes, peeled and sliced
mixed herbs – whatever you can find; Bay leaves, Rosemary, parsley stalks, thyme, and the light green celery leaves from the heart of the bunch of celery
1/4 cabbage, shredded
800g(2lb) can diced tomatoes
2 Beef stock cubes
4 cups water
miscellaneous vegetables from fridge to add at the end; I like sliced zuchinni and green beans

  1. Brown the Osso Buco in a little olive oil and butter in a large pot; Remove.
  2. Now saute the onions and garlic. When soft add the herbs to bloom – sautéing in oil releases far more flavour than adding the herbs to the liquid at the end.
  3. Add celery and carrots and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Now add the soup mix, beef stock cubes, canned tomatoes, water and the browned so buck. Bring to the boil. Turn to a low simmer. Simmer for 60 minutes.
  5. After 60 minutes, add the potatoes and shredded cabbage. Continue cooking for another 60 to 90minutes until the soup mix is cooked.
  6. Remove the osso buco. Add marrow from bones to the soup. Remove fat from the meat and shred it. Return shredded meat to the pot. The soup should be thick but if u think it needs more liquid add some now – add half cup water at a time so that you don’t end up diluting soup too much. Bring back to boil. Taste and add seasoning as required.  It is best left for a day at this stage to improve flavour but of course can be eaten immediately.
  7. Just before serving add miscellaneous vegetables on hand; Green Beans, sliced zucchini, etc and heat. Boil for no more than one minute to keep vegetables crunchy.
  8. This soup can keep for up to a week if you reheat it every day. Reheat slowly so as not to burn. Add additional water if it gets to thick BUT add water when soup is hot. The soup thins up as it heats so you cannot be sure how much water is required.
  9. Enjoy with crusty bread.

Portobello Mushrooms with Feta

Portobello mushrooms are meaty and dressed with feta and this herb and chilli dressing they are ideal as a starter or an accompaniment to a steak or any grilled meat.  Comments I have received on serving these are … “this is better than anything I have had in a restaurant”.  There you go – worthwhile compliment for a few minutes work.

Serves 4.

4 large portobello or large brown mushrooms, stalks removed
75g/3ozs Danish feta
1 long red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon chives, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil

  1. Preheat barbecue or chargrill to high.
  2. Whisk olive oil, lemon, garlic, herbs, and chilli in a small bowl.
  3. Brush both sides of mushrooms with a little oil. Barbecue or girl for 1-2 minutes on each side until mushrooms are heated through.
  4. Place each mushroom on an individual plate. Top with crumbled feta. Drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.

Aunt Marie shares her Chow Mein Mince

As a child growing up I always considered Aunt Marie to be a ‘modern’ woman. She didn’t appear to spend hours labouring in the kitchen or washing and ironing. Aunt Marie took an interest in Uncle Wim’s business and helped to make it a success. She was organised and practical – when she put meals together it was efficient, with the minimum of fuss and tasty … plus there was often something of the ‘exotic’.  Here is her Chow Mein Mince.  

Serves 4.

500g mince
1 onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 pkt chicken noodle soup
1 cup uncooked rice
2 cups boiling water
3 cups finely shredded cabbage
1 large carrot, grated
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon chutney
1 teaspoon sugar

  1. Brown finely chopped onions with mince in a little oil.
  2. Add remaining ingredients with water going in last. Note: Rice and soup mix are added dry.
  3. Cook over low heat for around 20 minutes stirring periodically until all liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Serve with a tossed salad.

Souffléd Fish Pie

I always sought the unusual – even in the times where meat and two vegetables were the standard fare. One sunny summer’s day in 1982 I discovered this recipe in a quaint cookbook at a school fair. It was an incredibly modern recipe in it’s day and became the regular favourite way to cook our weekly fish dish. It’s stood the test of time – still a little different and quite delicious with the unusual combination of fish and ham and the souffle topping works well.  Serve it with steamed vegetables in winter or a green salad in summer.

Serves 6.

1kg (2lb) firm white fish like ling or cod
60g (2 oz) butter
3 Tablespoons plain flour
1/2 cup grated cheese
2 cups milk
3 eggs
75g (3oz) chopped ham
2 teaspoons dill or fennel seeds

  1. Butter a large shallow gratinee or pie dish. Cut the fish into large pieces and lay in the dish in a single layer. Sprinkle with dill or fennel seeds, salt and pepper.
  2. Pour over the milk, cover the dish with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 400F/200C for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove fish and reduce oven heat to 300F/150C. Pour the milk off the fish into a separate jug. Add the chopped ham to the fish in the dish.
  4. Melt butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring all the time. Gradually add milk fish was cooked in, still stirring. Bring to the boil. Add cheese and stir until melted and smooth.
  5. Cool slightly. Then add egg yolks, one by one stirring thoroughly after each addition.
  6. Whisk egg whites until stiff and fold into the sauce with a metal spoon.
  7. Pour this mixture over the fish in the dish. Cook in the centre of the oven at 300F/150C for 30 to 40 minutes until risen and golden brown.
  8. Serve immediately.

Vegetarian Lasagne

This vegetarian version of a lasagne is wonderful but absolutely huge. Divide into two large lasagne dishes and freeze one. If you wish to make it low-cal replace the lasagne sheets with slices of zucchini and the cheese sauce with blobs of low fat ricotta. It tastes just as delicious and has far fewer calories.

Serves 12-16.

Vegetarian Filling
6 eggplants, cut into 5mm(1/4 inch) rounds
1.25kg (2.5 lbs) portobello or brown mushrooms
4 carrots, grated
2 x 470g (15 oz) cans whole tomatoes
3 large onions, sliced
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 cup sherry

  1. Sprinkle eggplant rounds with salt. Drain after 30minutes and brown on each side in griller.
  2. Saute sliced mushrooms with garlic in butter until limp. Add 1/2 cup sherry and simmer 20 minutes.
  3. Saute onions till soft and golden.  Add 1/2 cup sherry, 4 grated carrots, canned tomatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer about an hour.

Cheese Sauce/Alternatively use blobs of Ricotta
120g (4oz) butter
8 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk
pinch nutmeg
125 g (4 oz) grated cheddar cheese

  1. Melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour; cook gently, stirring, 1 minute.
  2. Gradually add the milk, stir until sauce boils and thickens.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg. Add cheese last.

Assembling the Lasagna
250 g (8 oz) lasagne noodles or Zucchini slices, 5mm(1/4 inch) thick
1 cup grated cheese or 1 cup ricotta
pumpkin kernels for crunch(optional)

  1. Using 2 lasagne dishes each 33cmx22cm(9x12inch), repeat the following layers: Grilled eggplant, mushroom mixture, onion  and vegetable mixture,  lasagne or zucchini slices, then cheese sauce or ricotta blobs.
  2. Repeat layers two or three times depending on depth of lasagne dish finishing with lasagne or zucchini slices.
  3. Sprinkle top with any remaining cheese sauce and grated cheddar cheese. Alternatively use blobs of ricotta and pumpkin kernels.
  4. Bake in moderate oven 20 to 25 minutes till hot and bubbling.

Lentil Soup – Good Old Fashioned Eating

This is real winter comfort food – warm, filling and full of flavour. I used to make a pot of soup on Sunday and we would enjoy it for lunch and/or dinner throughout the week. It’s also a healthy after school snack. Just add a little water when it thickens up and you can keep going for days. Reheat over medium – not high – heat and stir frequently to ensure it does not catch at the bottom of the pot.

Serves 8-10.

½ ham hock (omit if vegetarian)
1 onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
500g(1 lb) uncooked brown or puy lentils
1x800g(2 lbs) tin tomatoes, pureed
2 beef  or vegetable stock cubes
6 cups water
chopped parsley to serve

  1. Place all ingredients in a large pot.
  2. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for about 1½ hours stirring from time to time.
  3. Add another cup of water if it becomes too thick.
  4. Serve garnished with parsley.

Neil Shares: Sausage Ragu for Casual Entertaining

NAGSausages and mash with a twist – a wholesome and more-ish dish. It’s ideal for a boys night, a teenage gathering, or casual sunday entertaining, especially as the days get cooler.  This is my friend, Neil’s, signature dish, that always impresses and gets the boys coming back for more. Neil often barbecues the sausages for extra flavour and reduces the oven cooking time by 15minutes.  If you cannot find beef chipolatas then buy quality beef breakfast sausages(thin ones) and cut them in half. 

Serves 4-6.

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 green capsicum, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 rashers bacon, trimmed and chopped
500g (1lb) button mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on size
800g (2 lb) can diced tomatoes
12 chipolata beef sausages
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley to serve
Mashed potato to serve – 1 medium potato per person

  1. Preheat fan forced oven to 220°C (450°F).
  2. Combine oil, onion, bacon and carrot in a large casserole dish, approx 22cmx30cm(9x12inches).
  3. Cook in heated oven for 5 minute.
  4. Stir in mushrooms and capsicum. Spread mixture evenly over base of dish. Arrange sausages over vegetables and return to the oven. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes or until the sausages start to colour.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes. Cook uncovered for 15minutes until sausages are cooked through.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with mashed potato or crusty bread.
  7. Serve with beer – for the boys anyway.

Lasagne tastes so much better Homemade

It tastes so much better homemade despite the fact that there is some work and so many dishes. My son, Sven, always loved the crispy topping – finishing the top with the lasagne sheets instead of the cheese sauce makes it extra crispy. Sven and his Dad were always in there fighting for that last helping.

Serves 6-8 (In our family it was only enough for 4 !!!!!)

Meat Sauce
1 tablespoon oil
500g (1 lb) minced steak
2 x 470g (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon rosemary
½ teaspoon sugar

  1. Saute onion and garlic.
  2. Add mince and brown over a high heat.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer 30 minutes.

Cheese Sauce
60 g (2 oz) butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
pinch nutmeg
125 g (4 oz) grated cheddar cheese

  1. Melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour; cook gently, stirring, 1 minute.
  2. Gradually add the milk, stir until sauce boils and thickens.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg. Finally add cheese.

Assembling the Lasagna
250 g (8 oz) lasagne noodles
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
½ cup cream

  1.  Layers 1/3 of the meat sauce in the base of a 33cmx22cm (9x12inch) ovenproof dish.
  2. Cover with 1/3 of the cheese sauce; Then layer lasagne pasta sheets to cover top completely.
  3. Repeat these three layers twice more finishing with the pasta sheets on top – not the cheese sauce.
  4. Sprinkle top of lasagne sheets with 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese.
  5. Bake in moderate oven 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, gently pour or spoon cream over the top of cheese. Bake for further 10 to 15 minutes.
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